New monitoring group warns east electioneering undemocratic

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 23 April 2008, 10:40 GMT]
The newly formed monitoring group Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE) in its first press briefing held at the auditorium of the National Library Services Board in Colombo on Tuesday warned that the electioneering in eastern province is already turning out be an undemocratic one. CAFFE comprises several civil groups such as Women's Organization for Democracy and Peace (WODP) Organization for Democratic Rights and International Organization for Defense.

Leading members of the CAFFE, lawyer Shirilal Lakthilake, human rights activist, lawyer Nimalka Fernando, journalist Keerthi Tennekone and several others participated at the briefing, media sources said.

Shirilal Lakthilake said four persons were killed and seven assaults had taken place and several civilians had been threatened since the election was declared in east.

CAFFE targets to train 1100 natives of the east on monitoring activities to be deployed on the Election Day covering each polling station in the three districts, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampaarai, he added.

He added members of Pillayan Group paramilitary have been deployed in every police sentry in Batticaloa and other areas and they are allowed to move freely with arms.

"We do not want to issue statements like other monitoring groups, justifying that elections held were fair and free without violence before and on the polling day. We have decided to register every incident taking place during the electioneering and on the polling day and to highlight them in the international forum," said Shirilal Lakthilake.

Nimalka Fernando said CAFFE has prepared a report it observed in the Batticaloa local polls. No one can say that local polls held in Batticaloa were free and fair. They won the election by showing arms



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